Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tying Knots And Red Balloons

   After Amber got married my life settled into a new rhythm. I slowly gave up selling real estate. It was just too hard. Not the job, the emotions. I could not face one more crying couple looking for salvation in a for sale sign. I knew too much to even try to lift their spirits with tales of quick deals and flawless closings. Those days were gone and what was left was foreclosures and short sales. If Peng was going somewhere fun or if he was going to be gone more than three days, I usually tagged along. All those frequent flier miles had finally paid off. I loved it. Most of the time. When Peng was home we would pal around. Working on projects, finding new places to explore in our area and just generally enjoying each other. However, when Peng would leave I was lost. There was no reason to hop out of bed in the morning. There were no breakfasts to be made, no pressing chores and now, no business. I felt lost. I got down on myself and all together blue. I had loved what I did, the money, the people and the sense of worth and now it was all gone. It did not matter if I bathed or got out of my pajamas. I had nothing to do. I missed my children. I missed doing mom things. They were all grown up and living their own lives. My two youngest children would visit me sometimes and I planned my whole day around those few hours when there would be another voice in the house.

   I had not been alone since the short time between 18 and 19 when my husband had been out to sea. I did not know what to do with me. I bored myself. I read and reread books I had never gotten to, or had found some joy in. I gardened and watched all the guilty pleasure TV that ondemand could offer. And yet, still I felt...less than. Nothing I did made a mark or mattered. I did not know what to be. I thought about going back to school, but to do what? I enjoyed working, but when Peng was home I wanted to be too. There were trips to go on and adventures to be had. I fell into a general malaise. Finding pleasure in nothing. I would stay up very late and sleep until mid morning. I had become the teenager I had never been allowed to be. I remembered chiding my children for the same habits and I scolded myself all the more for it. I was unproductive and unmotivated. I was blessed with the very thing most of us crave. I simply had too much time on my hands. And just like Styx sang it was "ticking away at my sanity." I had lived for my children's homework and after school activities. I was over the moon for a costume for a school play and I had volunteered for everything. What was I supposed to be now? I lost myself. The thread of what makes seemed to slip from my grasp. Leaving me clutching at the air and coming up with nothing. There was a great void. A hole where what I did, explained who I was used to be.

   I never let on to Peng, I simply got smaller. I lessened myself to fit my lack of purpose and I was unhappy with myself for it. I looked into volunteering, but nothing took. I had a few wonderful stories locked in my head and I thought, maybe I could write them down. I brought it up to Peng the next time he came home and read him some of what I had written. And because he is who he is, he said to investigate what I would need. To make a list and I did. First he bought me a crazy, great laptop so I could write while we traveled. Then we picked out the books, on writing and screenwriting and all kinds of how to manuals. And then, because all the books said I needed it, he got me the writing software as well. I could not believe the generosity of that man. He never said that I could not do it or threw reality in my face. He gave me wings and offered to help me learn to use them. And so I wrote. I wrote for weeks. I wrote something I loved and then I put it down. I just stopped. I do not know why, I still had stories and ideas aplenty. I just simply could not face the next step. I let a few people read a little of what I had created. Everyone was complimentary, but the more supportive they were the less I trusted myself. Who did I think that I was? I was no writer. I had no background in it. I faltered and in the end I simple let that thread go again.

  I wrote a large part of my first blog entry in that time. I actually went on blogspot and started to write. But, it was hard. What I had to say was not hopeful or happy and I grew even more tired of myself. Why was I writing all this out. I already knew this story. There was nothing new to be added.

   I can look back now, today and see how wrong I was. But that was years ago and I had still had so far to go and much to learn. My youngest daughter set off the chain of events that got me to here, in this half real world of electronic diary entries. I like to think of it as more of a penpal relationship really. I write what is in my heart and many of you answer me back. You echo hope and support and it makes me write on. This is a little thank you, from me to you, right here near the end of this part of the story. Thank you, a thousand times thank you. She had started playing a game on facebook. She wanted me to play for her and figure out how to beat the system. I am good with games and so this was not an unusual request and again time was just ticking away, so she set up my facebook page and got me onto the game and away I went. I was obsessive when I had a goal and finally, I had something to do. I got into several games, I was feeding chickens and picking crops. Joining sorority houses and collecting trinkets. Part of many of the games was that you could communicate with others who were also playing. Now, the first twenty or so times a little message from a stranger appeared on my screen I freaked out. This was a stranger, why were they talking to me? I got over my trepidation, mainly because in one of those silly games you needed to add people, which meant talking to them and so my facebook addiction was born. Those little messages became conversations, which became invitations to other games and then to groups.In one of those groups I met many wonderful people who would later become...well YOU. All of those groups lead to talking and sharing and well, writing. So, slowly with more determination, I reached for the thread that held me bound to myself and I started to write and just to make sure that I would not lose it again, I tied a knot in that string and I wrapped it around my wrist.  It was like tying the string holding a balloon around a small child's wrist. That first blog was my balloon and I sent it out into the world, for you to find and here I am at the other end of the string,, praying that the knot holds.